South Africa Travel Advice


Banks and Foreign Exchange

The rand, South Africa’s currency, is divided into 100 cents. Notes are available in denominations of R10, 20, 50, 100 and 200, whereas coins are in denominations of 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2 and R5.

There are numerous banks, bureaus de change and ATMs all over the country. General opening hours for banks are 9am-3.30pm on weekdays and 8.30-11 am on Saturdays. Banks located at airports are likely to have more flexible timings to account for arrival of international flights.

Mastercard and Visa are the most accepted credit cards (Diners Club and American Express are also accepted), but it is important to carry cash especially when shopping at smaller outlets or traveling in rural areas. Most petrol stations will accept card but some can be cash-only.

Phoning Advice

South Africa has four main cell phone service providers, including Cell C, MTN, Vodacom and Virgin Mobile. Land line services are mainly operated by Telkom SA Ltd. They also operate public telephones where payment can be made by coins or phone cards available at post offices, petrol stations and most retail stores.

Cell phones can be rented from the airport. The country also has many internet cafes and post offices with the usual services being provided. South Africa’s international telephone country code is +27. Phone directories include the White Pages for resident subscribers to Telkom and the Yellow Pages focus on businesses and products.

Health Tips

South Africa is generally a clean country with hygienically treated water and a reasonable climate. Adults do not require inoculations unless traveling from a yellow-fever endemic area for which inoculation evidence will be required. Children up to the age of 12 should have Hepatitis B inoculations and boosters for measles and tetanus.

There are numerous hospitals and clinics all over the country. To avoid sun-related diseases, it is recommended to wear sun screen and sun glasses, especially between 10am and 4pm even when the sky is cloudy.

Tap water is treated and can be consumed directly, but mineral water is also available. Avoid drinking directly from rivers and streams unless they are up mountain to avoid waterborne diseases.

Most tourist areas are malaria free, but when traveling out of these it is advised that you wear mosquito repellent and full clothing, and sleep under a mosquito net.

Always have safe sex as South Africa has one of the highest rates of HIV in the world.

General Information

Smoking is not allowed in most public areas. The time remains the same in all areas of the country throughout the year. Tipping is a common practice and the likes of taxi drivers, hair dressers, petrol station attendants, waiting staff, security guards and bartenders will expect to be tipped a small amount.

Plugs are round pin and electricity is usually 220/330 volts with 15 amp three prong or 5 amp two-prong plugs.

If you wish to tour the country then renting a car is a good idea, and if flying into Johannesburg you should checkout car hire Johannesburg Airport who should be able to help you.

It is always best to pre-book your rental if at all possible to get the best prices and availability you can.







Information on this page is the personal opinion of the author and should not be considered as advice of any kind.


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